A trip to Kentucky could not be complete without visiting a house of bourbon, if not the whole Kentucky bourbon trail. Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, Bulleit, Maker’s Mark and more are all with in 80 miles of each other. To visit them all would take a lot of gas and a strong constitution. This is why we chose just one, Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery.
We headed about an hour outside of Louisville, Ky., to a town called Versailles (pronounced Ver-sales). It is there, along with true Kentucky bluegrass, regal, grazing horses at picturesque ranches and winding roads, that Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery stands.
We arrived with 15 minutes to spare before the next tour started. The visitor’s area looked like a modern, urban mancave, replete with leather, wood and an awesome fireplace. We were soon fitted with personal earpieces so that we could hear the guide over the noise of the machines then gathered on the porch before heading to the distillery.
We began with an overview of the ingredients and the process before moving on to see it in action, from the massive fermentation barrels to the copper pot distillation and the toasted oak barrels for the maturation building. By the time we got to the bottling process, we were all ready to taste this masterful creation.
A quick ride back to the main house and the tasting room netted us a moment to sit and experience this spirit as it should be. We sampled their signature Reserve and their award-winning Double Oaked varieties paired with a bourbon dark chocolate candy. Our masterful guide directed us on the correct way to taste bourbon: smell, coat your mouth with the first sip and then sip to taste.
We ended with a purchase to mark the visit before taking in the scenery and jumping in the car to head up north. Woodford, it was worth the wait and the trip!